Wendell Castle’s functional, biomorphic designs go on display at Ladbroke Hall

‘Suspended Disbelief’ by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, at Ladbroke Hall, celebrates the works from late pioneering designer and sculptor, Wendell Castle (until 26 April 2024)

Wendell Castle at Ladbroke Hall
Portrait of Wendell Castle
(Image credit: Photography by Jean Pierre Vaillancourt, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Settling in nicely at its Ladbroke Hall location, Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents ‘Suspended Disbelief’ the latest showcase on the late pioneering sculptor and designer Wendell Castle (1932 – 2018). 

The Kansas born designer experimented with industrial design, sculpture and woodwork before finding his trademark in uniting sculptural design with functionality, which gave him his often credited title as the 'founding father of the American Art furniture movement'.

Wendell Castle at Ladbroke Hall

Suspended Disbelief, exhibition view, photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (6)

Suspended Disbelief, exhibition view, photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

The retrospective focuses on Castle’s later woodwork from 2011 to 2015, with sculptural furniture designs inspired by organic forms and the natural world, signalling a return to his signature biomorphic style from the 1960s and 1970s.

Having reinvented the creative use of fibreglass and woodwork by merging them together, Castle revisited his technique of carving into stacked laminated wood, while further experimenting with steel, bronze and nickel, to create the organic shapes the work features.

The lamination ensured the structural integrity, while the soft angels, curvature, and textural indentations are reminiscent of living organisms, allowing for a fine balance between delicate sculptural work and practicality.

Suspended Disbelief, exhibition view, photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (2)

Suspended Disbelief, exhibition view, photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (2)

(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

The exhibition highlights Castle’s natural approach to sculpture, adding fluidity and movement to the somewhat static nature of modernism. The materials he chose complement his design methods. Carving into large glued wooden blocks, his creations come alive taking on serpentine and tentacle-like forms, injecting playfulness into his work. 

Suspended Disbelief, exhibition view, photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (5)

(Image credit: Photography by Benjamin Baccarani, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery (5))

Carpenters Workshop Gallery co-founder, Loic Le Gaillard, says ‘Wendell Castle’s legacy is a testament to the power of visionary design. His work crosses over in the worlds of sculpture, design and craft, offering endless inspiration to new generations of artists and designers. His mastery of materials, transforming them into fluid, functional art, continues to challenge and expand our understanding of creation and craftsmanship.’

'Suspended Disbelief' is on display at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Ladbroke Hall until 26 April 2024

79 Barlby Rd,

London

W10 6AZ 

carpentersworkshopgallery.com
ladbrokehall.com

Wendell Castle_Hope_Photo by Jean Pierre Vaillancourt

Wendell Castle's 'Hope'

(Image credit: Photo by Jean Pierre Vaillancourt)

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.